Never underestimate just how much people hate getting out of their cars. After the advent of drive-throughs in the 1930s and ’40s, Americans quickly realized that obtaining the necessities of life, like food, needn’t require using one’s legs. In-N-Out claims to have introduced the concept of drive-through dining to the masses back in 1948, sparking other chains to follow suit and introducing a whole new way of life for hungry people too busy and/or lazy to get food themselves. After all, why waste valuable time walking when you can pay someone else to bring you your order?
Nowadays, however, food delivery is but one of the many options available from the comfort of your car. It used to be that drive-through pharmacies and ATMs seemed strange, but now, given some of the crazy concepts that have popped up over the years, it’s clear that this industry knows no bounds.
Drive-through liquor stores are popular throughout the South, which already sounds like a bad idea—until you compare that concept with the drive-through daiquiri shops in Louisiana and Texas. No need to drive home and mix a cocktail with places like Daiquiris & Company in business—they hand you readymade drinks, like the Mighty 190 (made with Everclear), and shots in a cup that you can enjoy on the go. Of course, drinking and driving is illegal in the United States, which is why these establishments give customers a straw separately, rather than putting it in the drink. If customers choose to pop the straw in and take a sip while driving away, that’s on them. More of a tequila fan than a rum drinker? You can find drive-through margarita establishments in Texas, too.
Ah, Las Vegas—where couples in love or in lust can get married in a hurry, without all the fuss and foresight traditional weddings demand. They can get it over with even faster at A Special Memory Wedding Chapel, where a basic package gives brides and grooms a drive-up ceremony with music, a bouquet, and twelve professional portraits on a CD. Upgrade to the Supersize package, and you’ll receive a DVD of the ceremony as well—because getting married in front of a drive-up wedding window is something you’ll want to document for your grandkids someday.
Drive-Through Funeral Viewing
Lafayette Gatling, the owner of Gatling’s Funeral House in Chicago, jumped on the wacky-drive-through bandwagon back in 1989 with the country’s first drive-through viewing option. “The working person doesn’t have time to come in,” he told the New York Times that same year. “They want to see the body, but they don’t want to have to wait.” Hear, hear; paying respects to the dearly departed takes up too much valuable cubicle time. Unfortunately, Gatling’s doesn’t offer this service anymore, but an online, real-time viewing-services option is in the works.
Drive-Through Sex Toys
Alabama is the last U.S. state to still have a ban on sex toys, but an adults-only shop in Huntsville called Pleasures found a way around that. The shop makes customers fill out questionnaires that detail the medical reasons for purchasing such stimulating devices (the law allows sex toy sales for medical, scientific, and educational purposes). And now customers can boost their brainpower and physical health via all three of Pleasures’ new drive-through lanes. The purchases come in brown paper bags that are placed in handy drive-through drawers so that people can buy vibrators, lube, and the like without being seen by Alabama’s moral police.
The very idea of supermarket shopping leaves many people drained; hitting up the McDonald’s drive-through on the way home instead sounds so much less taxing. That’s why the business wizards at the UK supermarket chain Tesco came up with the first drive-through grocery store in August 2010. All you need to do is order goods online and specify when you’re coming to pick them up, and a Tesco team member will come out and load up your car. The idea hasn’t hit the States yet (though we do have home-delivery grocery programs, which ensure even less work on our parts), but if it proves successful at its start-up location in Hertfordshire, we might soon see drive-through windows at chains like Safeway and Publix.
Not everyone has time to worship on a set schedule every week, which is why a man named Shawn Heggi started a prayer tent in a field in Loma Linda, California, in 2010. It doesn’t have a window, per se, but drivers can pop by for a quick prayer request and Bible verse before heading on their merry, spiritual way. There’s also a church that made the news in 2009 for doing something similar in Arizona, as well as for taking Internet prayers.
Drive-through supermarkets, funeral houses, and sex toy shops … what a time to be alive. Who knows what bizarre ideas will surface in the next few years? Already, there have been attempts at everything from drive-through emergency-room services to drive-through strip clubs. As long as there are enough people willing to forgo a little exercise for convenience’s sake, the world is the drive-through industry’s oyster.